Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Back to Work. . .

Spring break is over, so I'm back to work this week. Monday night, I dreamt that my first day back to work, Tuesday, was complete chaos. That my students wouldn't sit down and listen to me, but opted instead to rather loudly watch a video on one student's laptop. That I gave them another instructor's handout and then tried to get them back, which was a mess. And, to make matters about a million times worse, that my supervisor was there to observe my hectic class. Unsurprisingly, I woke up in a terrible mood, with a pounding headache on Tuesday morning. That right there is a great way to start back to work after a week off.

But, despite by terrifying awesome subconscious predictions that my day would be a wreck, it was actually rather nice. I had students during my office hours, which made sitting in my office for two hours before class completely worth it--of course, I also use my office hours to plan out my classes, so it works either way. I got lots of student emails, which I'm always grateful for because it means my students are comfortable reaching out to me. My classes went really well, my students were all well behaved, save for a few stragglers coming in late, which I can forgive since it's only the second day back from spring break and they're still mentally checked out--but then, who isn't?

After class I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Young for a while. My management books say that having a mentor is a really helpful thing for young professionals and if that's true she's definitely mine. I've known her and been taking her classes for 9 years now. She was my thesis committee chair and so oversaw all of my thesis work. She has always been an inspiration to me, so I thought I'd talk to her about how she conducts her Engish 111 class and whether or not she would be willing to share her materials with me. She agreed and said that I could observe her classes when I asked. We talked a while about virtue, or lack there of, of PowerPoint something she doesn't use for a multitude of reasons. It was lovely.

I also had the chance to speak to her about how I might draw some conference/publication papers from my thesis work. She gave me some ideas about how to get started, including which conferences I should send proposals to, and said that we could get together and take a look at my thesis sometime. Even though I'm not her student anymore, she's still willing to help me, for which I am eternally grateful. I'm not sure what I'd do without her, to be honest. We even talked about a paper she recently gave that sounds really interesting to me and about the virtues of conference papers over publications when you're just starting out. So I'm thinking I may reach outside (way outside) my comfort zone and see about presenting at some of the conferences next spring--the deadlines for submissions are at the end of this year, so that gives me plenty of time. Might be that I can work on this in the summer, when I'm off work.

So far, my week back to work has been nice. I had a completely dreamless sleep last night, which was a good thing because my dreams have been really bizarre and disturbing lately. Of course, I went to bed at 9:30 p.m. because I couldn't keep my eyes open and slept until 7:00 a.m., and still felt like I hadn't rested at all well. Oh, and completely off topic here, but I splurged this week and bought myself a new carpet shampooer, a set of plates, and a KitchenAid mixer. I've never had a stand-mixer so I'm really excited, I love to bake, and wait until you see the color! Pictures forthcoming after it gets here Friday! But, for now I'm off to get some grading done. Might as well try to make today as productive as yesterday.